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What is a gerund and how do you use it?

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A gerund is type of noun that is created by adding ‘-ing’ to a verb, for example:

Verb: Eat
Gerund (Noun): Eating

In some cases, we need to add an extra consonant before the -ing. This typically happens when the last consonant in the verb follows a single, short vowel:

Verb: Swim
Gerund (Noun): Swimming (Swim + m + ing)

Verb: Run
Gerund (Noun): Running (Run + n + ing)

The gerund can be used as the subject, complement, or object of a sentence. Let’s take a look at what that means using the examples below: 

Running is good for your health. (Subject)
His favourite hobby is running. (Complement)
I love running! (Object)

Reading is the best way to learn new words.
Her least favourite subject is reading.
Jane really enjoys reading.

Top Tip: Gerunds are usually used when an action is real, permanent, or completed (e.g. I love running! – means that I love running and probably will continue to love that activity for a long time)

Now it's your turn! Choose the gerund in each of the following examples. Don't forget to share this lesson with your friends and leave us a comment telling us why you liked it!

  • One of life’s most important skills is knowing yourself.

  • Speaking another language is helpful for jobs.

  • I always brush my teeth after eating.

  • Some of my friends go to school without sleeping the night before.